Trail Descriptions: West Side Trails
The West Side Trails are accessed from N.C. 105, 0.7 miles north of the intersection with N.C. 184. There is no charge for accessing the State Park from the trailheads outside the travel attraction. A ticket to the attraction is required to access the trails from the Swinging Bridge.
|Trail name||Rating||Blaze||Length (miles)|
|Profile Trail||Lower part is easy;Upper part is steep, strenuous and rocky||Orange Diamond||3.1 mi. (4.9 km)|
Beginning as a scenic, rolling pathway through seasonal wildflowers, this trail crosses the Watauga River and travels through rhododendron thickets and under a hardwood canopy for much of its length. Upper sections, beginning around Foscoe View, get steeper, and there are frequent rest stops with stone and log benches. Along one notable stretch before the trail reaches a view of the famous Grandfather Profile, hundreds of large boulders were artfully rearranged into a rock walkway called “Peregrine’s Flight.” Shanty Spring, at 2.7 miles in, marks the beginning of a strenuous segment that makes the transition out of the hardwoods and into the Canadian fir zone, climbing 0.3 miles before joining the Grandfather Trail. It is steep and rocky and calls for some careful footwork. Your reward is the view at the top.
|Foscoe View||1.7 mi (2.7 km)|
|Profile Campsite||2.0 mi (3.2 km)|
|Profile View||2.3 mi (3.7 km)2.5 hrs. round trip|
|Shanty Spring||2.7 mi (4.3 km)3 hrs. round trip|
|Calloway Gap||3.1 mi (4.9 km)3.5 hrs. round trip|